HomeVoorhees News‘Everything you see is new’

‘Everything you see is new’

Vogelson library in Voorhees gets $2 million upgrade



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Camden County Commissioner Melinda Kane, Voorhees Mayor Michael Mignogna and Camden County Library System Director Linda Devlin gathered for a ribbon-cutting on May 4 to celebrate renovations at the M. Allan Vogelson Library.

EMILY LIU/The Sun: Voorhees Mayor Michael Mignogna, Comissioner Melinda Kane and Camden County Library System Director Linda Devlin cut the ribbon to reveal the new upgrades to the Vogelson Library in Voorhees on May 4. The new upgrades included new flooring, shelves, a new meeting room in the Children’s Area, new furniture and paint.

Vogelson is the largest branch of the Camden County Library System. Though it received some upgrades to its interior in the ‘90s, the latest three-year renovation is the first for the library since it was built in 1969.

“Everything is new, literally, every surface is new,” said William Brahms, branch manager and chief librarian at Vogelson. “It gave us an opportunity to reinvent the home space, and it was reinvented in a way to optimize peoples’ ability to have access to technology, visibility … It feels more welcoming.”

The renovations touched seemingly all aspects of the library. Outside were roof repairs and parking lot repaving. Inside, the bathrooms were renovated and  shelves, carpets, furniture and service desks are all new. The inside of the elevator car and the HVAC system also have been updated.

The library also has made technology more accessible by adding more computers in the children’s room; creating a teen area with expanded technology and charging stations; and adding 10 new touchscreen, self-service kiosks, along with more power and data overall.

“The library is a vital resource for residents of all ages, offering not only plenty to read, but critical services like reliable internet and computer access,” Kane said. “These improvements have modernized many of those services and expanded the facility’s capacity for activities, events, and other programming.

“With this project” she added, “we have ensured that Vogelson remains a place to work, play, and congregate for many years to come.”

The library children’s room has been expanded to include a larger space for  programs, complete with tables and chairs. Brahms said that was one of the updates that excited him most.

“Before, it was like we had to find a way to accommodate the needs,” he shared. “Now, we’re set up to accommodate the needs.”

Although the Camden County Library System does not yet offer in-building events, when that happens, the Vogelson branch will be ready. Brahms reflected on times when staff had to turn kids away because there wasn’t enough space for them.

“This [the new meeting room for children] allows us to have programs that can have a large number of attendees. We don’t have to worry about that anymore,” Brahms noted.

While all county library programs are still held virtually because of COVID,  Brahms and Emily Moore, principal librarian and head of youth services, said  the situation has allowed them to reach a far greater audience than they would have had in person. The pandemic also has meant the addition of more services, such as curbside pickup and a dedicated phone number for people with questions, that librarians expect to continue after pandemic restrictions end.

“Libraries have the power to transform lives every day.” Kane said. “ … The funds spent to make all the renovations possible are worth it, because everyone who steps through these doors are worth it.”

The Vogelson library is currently open Monday through Saturday at 50 percent capacity. On Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Wednesday and Thursday hours are 4 to 8 p.m., with visits limited to one hour.

Contactless pickup hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

For more information about the library, visit https://www.camdencountylibrary.org/voorhees.


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